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1862 April 23: Wisconsin Gloriously Represented at the Battle of Shiloh

April 25, 2012

The Hudson North Star of April 23, 1862, included an article about Wisconsin’s participation in the battle at Pittsburg Landing, better known today as the Battle of Shiloh. It mentions the death of Colonel Alban of the 18th Wisconsin Infantry, who “fell while gallantly leading his regiment.”  Next is an article from The Prescott Journal of April 23, which is a personal recollection of the Colonel by a local Prescott man.

James Shane Alban (1810-1862), from Plover in Portage County, was commissioned on October 24, 1861. The 18th Infantry had just completed its muster into United States service on March 15, 1862, and left Wisconsin on the 30th. They arrived in Saint Louis on March 31 and the next day were ordered to Pittsburg Landing, where they arrived on April 5th and were assigned to General Prentiss’ command.  Colonel Alban was wounded on the first day of the Battle of Shiloh, April 6, and died from his wounds on April 7, 1862. For more on Alban, see the May 19, 1992, Stevens Point Journal article by Justin Isherwood.

From The Hudson North Star:


At the battle of Pittsburg, Wisconsin was gloriously represented.  The telegraphic report says, “Let Wisconsin glory in the unflinching bravery and patriotism of her noble sons.”  The 14th, 16th and 18th regiments fought gallantly and bore unsullied the glorious ensign of our country in the midst of the enemy, and through the raging tide of battle.  Their record is a noble one.  They stood their ground like braves, and though beset by a superior force they did not ignominiously leave the field.

The total number of killed, wounded and missing in the three regiments is said to be 1,000.  The 18th suffered terribly.  It was the newest regiment from the State, and though exposed to the heaviest and most deadly fire, they returned it with the energy of veterans.  The hero in Col. Alban fell while gallantly leading his regiment in the hottest of the fight.—We also have to mourn the death of other gallant officers and many brave men, who in sacrificing themselves, have honored us.  Peace to their ashes.

From The Prescott Journal:

Death of Col. Alban.

ED. JOURNAL :—It is with much pain that I am forced to the belief that Col. J. S. ALBAN, of the 18th Reg. Wis. Vol., is dead.

My personal acquaintance with Col. Alban was quite brief, but of sufficient duration to impress upon me the fact that he was one of Wisconsin’s noblest, purest patriots.  On the 23rd day of March, myself with another friend spent some time with him at his quarters in the camp of the 18th, then in Milwaukee.  At the time, my reflections were that our cause must truly be a noble one, when such men as Col. Alban should feel it to be their duty to rally to the rescue.

Although past the prime of life, with high civic honors resting upon his patriotic brow, he felt, as he said to me, “that it was his duty to take the the [sic] battle field.”

May his family bear with resignation their great grief, and may the people of Wisconsin never forget that a “hero sleeps his last sleep.”1

Yours truly,     B.

Prescott, April 18 1862.

1.  From a poem attributed to Leonard Heath, that was set to music by Lyman Heath.

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